Pub life: Houston's top 4 izakayas, ranked

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If you're in the mood for some Japanese and sake, you're in luck (KTRK)

Looking to try the top izakayas around? If you're in the mood for Japanese tapas and a shot of sake at the end of your day, you're in luck: Hoodline has crunched the numbers to find the top izakayas in Houston. Check out one of these top-rated izakayas the next time you want pub food, Japanese style.

1. Izakaya Wa



Photo: Tam N./Yelp

Topping the list is Izakaya Wa. Located at 12665 Memorial Drive in Memorial, the izakaya, which offers sushi, skewers and more, is the highest rated izakaya in Houston, boasting 4.5 stars out of 614 reviews on Yelp.

Its menu includes both panko-fried and grilled skewers, sushi rolls, rice and noodle dishes, beer and sake. Notable dishes include the Memorial Roll (spicy tuna or salmon, fried salmon on top, avocado and spicy mayo), the Tsukimi Udon (yamaimo, egg yolk, green onion and fish cake) and the Shiso Tsukune (ground chicken skewer with shiso leaf). (You can see the full menu here.)

Yelper Kim T., who reviewed it on May 30, said, "I can't stop raving about this place! The food is delicious and fresh and the service is superb! They always have specials and new items to try. The sashimi is always on point and the small dishes are delicious."

2. Izakaya



Photo: Lu N./Yelp

Next up is Midtown's Izakaya, situated at 318 Gray St. With four stars out of 447 reviews on Yelp, the izakaya, which offers sushi, poke, ramen and more, has proven to be a local favorite.

It serves an inclusive Japanese menu, plus Hawaiian poke. Menu options include menudo ramen (Mexican-inspired spicy menudo broth with cilantro, onions, avocado, radishes and an egg), the Hawaiian poke bowl (diced tuna, sesame oil, avocado, green onions, seaweed salad and crab stick) and the Thai snapper (snapper sashimi, tamarind and coconut sauce, basil, Thai chiles and roasted nuts). (See the full dinner menu here.)

Yelper Andrew L., who went there on April 18, wrote, "Sushi, ramen, poke and Japanese curry all in one spot? Yes, please! I love the fact that it is a one-stop shop for all the Japanese food (plus Hawaiian poke) you would want."

3. Zen



Photo: Zen Japanese Izakaya/Yelp

Montrose's Zen, located at 2015 S. Shepherd Drive, Suite 700, is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the izakaya and sushi bar four stars out of 161 reviews.

Its menu includes dishes such as karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken), nasu dengaku (grilled eggplant with miso sauce), omu soba yakisoba (chow mein noodle wrapped with egg), wagyu beef steak, pork misozuke and tempura udon, among others. (See its full dinner menu here.)

Alice H. said, "The sashimi we ordered was the sweet shrimp, tuna and salmon. Man oh man, don't get me started on the sweet shrimp! They deep fry the shrimp heads so that you can eat it. It was oh so good. I know it sounds a little crazy for some people, but you have to try it! The tuna and salmon were both very fresh and just melted in your mouth."

4. Yokushi Robata



Photo: Lisa H./Yelp

Yokushi Robata, an izakaya that offers sushi, poke and ramen in Greenway, is another go-to, with four stars out of 159 Yelp reviews. Head over to 3837 Richmond Ave. to see for yourself.

Its menu includes cold and hot tapas, yakitori, ramen and poke. Among these, dishes include the spicy hotato with avocado, baked curry beef on don, wagyu beef, bacon with quail egg, pork belly and chicken skin. (See the full menu here.)

Yelper Anna C. wrote, "This place seems to be as authentic as Japanese will get in Houston. I still haven't tried their main dishes (such as their ramen or don), but their poke is so fresh and I have no complaints. Not to mention it comes in such a big main dish bowl that you might need to ask for a to-go box."

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